So many of my friends ask how to do know what to pack and how much to pack when living full-time tent camping? Then how to figure out what’s needed once you move from a van to a little truck camper. So this post is dedicated on how to pack, what to pack and how to downsize! I have learned, we typically pack more than needed to be comfortable. Here are my tips and tricks for packing and keeping it as minimalistic as possible! First, you need good weatherproof storage bins. I found these at home depot to be great and perfect for stacking and not too heavy if you pack them fully. You can also get them at Costco and Amazon. Four to Six should be plenty for two people, I suggest don’t go over four if you are trying to not have too many items to fit in your mid size truck camper. There is very little storage! Here is what we have decided to take with us to live for the next year.
We used two bins for food garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, shallots (I put all these in a plastic bag with holes I got from a farmers market potatoes bag-I have reused this for 15 months and it is still going strong), storage spices (I buy spices in bulk and use little ziplock bags for each spice and one large ziplock to hold all of them makes it easy for storage in small space), tin foil, one pot and two cast iron pans, 6 cup espresso maker, coffee beans holder and grinder, collapsible Tupperware, utensils, plates, bowls, cups, canned foods (coconut milk, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, cream of mushroom, artichoke hearts, canned tuna, pastas, noodles and rice. One bin for camp chairs, hammock, backpacks, yoga mat, headlamps, walkie talkies, duct tape, first aid kit, hiking poles, bug spray, bear spray and candles. The last bin is full of our clothes packed in compression bags. I suggest using these from Amazon and REI . Do not pack too many clothes you really will only wear a couple of shorts, 2-3 t-shirts, 1-2 tanks, 2 long sleeve shirts, one nice pair of pants, convertible hiking pants, a capri leggings and a long leggings, swim suit, couple of underwear, 1 set of long underwear and one nice set of clothes to go out on the town (I have a nice sun dress and Greg has a nice short and long sleeve button down shirt to wear with shorts or jeans). We have a couple of sleeping bags, sleeping pads and pillows that all fit in this great REI duffle bag. Reusing old duvet and sheet bags to store your shoes, sandals, hiking boots and extra jackets (we have puffy down jacket, rain shell, a fleece, beanie hat and gloves). We also use an old sheets bag for games like travel scrabble, Farkle (aka 10,000 a fun dice game), chess, and rummy. These bags are great to ensure things stay clean, organized easy to find and compact!
When living in a very tight space, organization is critical. When we got our new Overland Explorer Camp M and started unpacking our items and repacking, we learned we needed to get rid of our big plastic bins that could fit in the truck bed to small plastic organizers that could fit in the small storage spaces. Don’t forget to bring a small pack with sundry items, (I cut our hair so we have an electric razor), we use Dr. Bronner’s for shampoo, body wash, hand wash, clothes wash and washing dishes as it is biodegradable and doesn’t hurt the environment and won’t make you sick if you eat on accident from not rinsing off your plates well enough. This way we could stack and have dry items, canned items in one area, snacks in another, breakfast items in another, cooking utensils in another. Below is our new organization.
People ask what items are your favorite must haves, here are our top 5:
- Berkey Water System (this is great when you are boondocking and have a near-by stream to get water or to ensure you always have good water out of your water tank).
- Having a nice durable outdoor rug to sit on, exercise, save your camp spot, or take a shower when its dirt all around you. This mat has lasted more than 1.5 years for us so far.
- Comfortable, collapsible and easy to store camp chairs and camp table.
- Small portable axe, shovel, bucket and always have extra water containers we like these rotopax that can be added to our molle carrier.
- Weboost cell booster, we find this increases our coverage by 50%.
- Okay, I’m adding a six item- we do laundry everyday or other day and just a few items then we don’t have to go to the laundromat. We love the scrubba, works great and really helps to pack less clothes!
We hope this is helpful. Next blog, we will discuss our new Overland Explorer Camp M truck camper and our experiences with it so far in Montana visiting Bozeman, Red Lodge, the Beartooth Highway and Northeast and Northwest Yellowstone.
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